Guide to the Papers of the Hamilton Family (as filmed by the AJCP)


M3059 - M3060

National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Hamilton (Family)
Papers of the Hamilton Family (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
2 October 1839 - 1955
Collection Number
M3059 - M3060
22 items
Language of Materials
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.


Scope and Contents

Papers 1847-79 of Sir Henry Keppel, including: log of Meander, account of voyages in East Indies; labour problem in East Indies; and death of Capt. Owen Stanley.

Papers 1839-43 of Henry G. Hamilton, including letters written from Sydney and Clarence River to his family in England.

Papers 1945-54 of Sir Louis Hamilton including: account of Mission to Australia; discussions on post-war forces; and visit of American Fleet. Correspondents include Lord Mountbatten and Sir Hugh Binney.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the owner of the original material.

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the location of the original material and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.

Example: M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Material selectively filmed at the National Maritime Museum, London, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1993 (AJCP Reels: M3059-3060). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

National Maritime Museum Section 4: Personal collections.

Existence and Location of Originals

National Maritime Museum, Romney road, Greenwich, London.

Collection reference: Add NMM, Section 4, HTN. For further information see Hamilton Family at the National Maritime Museum [!asearch]

Existence and Location of Copies

The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.

The Australian and New Zealand papers from the following collections at the National Maritime Museum have been listed and filmed separately:

BRI: Admiral Sir Cyprian Bridge, M3061-M3067 []

FLI: Captain Matthew Flinders, M3033-M3037 []

FXM: Cicely Fox Smith, M3048-M3050 []

LUB: Basil Lubbock, M3055-3058 []

PHI: Phipps Hornby Family, M3068-M3072 []

STK:Admiral John Lort Stokes, M3051-M3054 []

Finding-aid Notes

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2019. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.

Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.


American Fleet; Australia; Binney, Sir Hugh; Clarence River, New South Wales; Dutch East Indies; Dutch East Indies: visits to; Great Britain; Hamilton Family; Hamilton, Henry G.; Hamilton, Sir Louis; Keppel, Sir Henry; Meander (ship); Mountbatten, Louis, 1st Earl; Royal Navy: voyages; Stanley, Owen, Captain


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 207, p78.

Biographical / Historical

Sir Henry Keppel (1809-1904), the sixth son of the fourth Earl of Albermarle, was born in London and entered the Royal Navy in 1822. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1829, commander in 1833 and captain in 1837. As commander of HMS Dido, he served on the China Station in 1841-45 and worked closely with Sir James Brooke in suppressing piracy in Borneo. He returned to the China Station on HMS Maeander in 1847-51 and during his commission visited Australia. He served in the Crimean War and in 1856-58 was second in command of the China Station. Promoted to rear-admiral in 1858, he commanded the Cape of Good Hope Station (1860-61) and the China Station (1866-69). He became admiral of the fleet in 1877.

Henry George Hamilton (1808-1879) was the son of William Richard Hamilton and his wife Juliana Mary Hamilton. He joined the Royal Navy in 1822 and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1829. In 1832 he became flag-lieutenant to Sir George Cockburn HMS Vernon on the North America and West Indies Station. He was appointed commander of HMS Tweed in 1834, but was paid off in the same year. He arrived in Sydney on the Union in 1840, having accompanied Alfred and Henry Denison. He returned to England in 1843 and in 1845 married Fanny Elizabeth Tower (d. 1875)

Maria Walpole Keppel (1865-1952) was the daughter of Sir Henry Keppel and his wife Jane Elizabeth Keppel. In 1889 she married Frederic Tower Hamilton (1856-1917), the son of Henry George and Fanny Hamilton. He became a rear-admiral in 1912 and was Second Sea Lord in 1914-16.

Sir Louis Keppel Hamilton (1890-1957) was the son of Sir Frederick and Maria Hamilton. He grew up at Anmer Hall, near King's Lynn, and joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman in 1908. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 1913. During World War I he saw active service in West Africa. He was promoted to the rank of captain in 1932 and vice-admiral in 1943. He commanded HMS Aurora in Norway in 1940 and was Flag Officer at Malta in 1943-45. In 1945-48 he was Chief Naval Adviser to the Australian Government and First Naval Member of the Commonwealth Naval Board.

Item Descriptions

Series. Admiral Sir Henry Keppel, 1847 - 1888

8 items

Biographical / Historical

Admiral Sir Henry Keppel (1809-1904). Keppel's papers are included in the Hamilton Collection since his daughter Maria married Frederick Hamilton. He served on the China Station, 1866-1869 and wrote his autobiography A Sailor's Life Under Four Sovereigns. He was an intimate friend of Edward VII.

Subseries 5. Abstract Log of Meander, 18 November 1847 - 7 February 1850; 18 March 1850 - 31 July 1851

Details of: course; wind; weather; remarks - commissioning of ship; observed Prince Edward Islands; sailing in East Indies; grounding on uncharted shoal.

Places include: Sheerness; Madeira; Rio; Straits of Sunda; Sarawak; Labuan; Port Jackson; Norfolk Island; Waitemata; Bay of Islands; Papeete; Mazatlan; Valparaiso; Rio.

(66p. and 52p.)

Subseries 14. Diaries, 1848 - 1849

2 items

Filmed selectively.

Diary, 1848 (File 14 B)

Details of: boarding Meander; sailing for East Indies; passengers - Mrs and Miss Napier; death of Napier's son; Madeira - social events; ceremonies of crossing the line; 'women dangerous things on board ship'; provisioning at Rio; Crew's duties; Singapore - social events; movements of other ships on station; wedding of Miss Napier to Hugh Low - 'as melancholy an event as a funeral'; instalment of Brooke with KCB; sailing with Brooke to Sarawak; attended feast given by natives for Brooke; his wife's health.


Diary, 1849 (File 14 C)

Details of; voyages in East Indies; Labuan; Singapore; shooting snipe; visit to Brooke at Sarawak; collecting shells; Hong Kong; Manila.

(30p., few entries.)

Subseries 48. Letters received, 1879

1 item

Filmed selectively.

Letters from J. Wilson (Wolverine, Sydney, Fiji), 1879 (File 48 G. 1879)

News of Keppel's son, Colin, on the Australian Station; arrival of French Rear Admiral; visits to Friendly Islands and Navigator group; New Hebrides; Solomon Islands; activities of pirates off New Guinea. (6 letters)

Subseries 49. Letters received, August 1880 - June 1888

2 items

Filmed selectively.

Letters, August 1880 (File 49 A. 1880)
1 item
J. Wilson (Sydney), 31 August 1880 (Item)

Re grounding on reef off Fiji; news of Colin - his debts. (8p.)

Letters, June 1888 (File 49 J. 1888)
1 item
Thomas Keppel (Sydney) claiming relationship with Keppel; his father jumped ship in Sydney in 1850. (4p.), 2 June 1888 (Item)

Subseries 63. Personal notebooks, July 1850

1 item

Filmed selectively.

Miscellaneous letters, July 1850 (File [A])
1 item
Notes on Tahiti. (5p.), July 1850 (Item)

Subseries 69. Log of Meander, 1 November 1847 - 31 July 1851

Abstract log and remarks.

Details of: course, wind, weather, remarks - commissioning of ship; fitting cabin for governor of Labuan and Suite; Governor James Brooke and William Napier and families board; ceremonies of crossing the line; taking Brooke to Sarawak; labour problem in East Indies; take on board party from Port Essington; death of Owen Stanley, Captain of Rattlesnake; Auckland harbour; King George of Tonga 'he is a Christian and intelligent Christian'; influence of French brandy on natives of Tahiti; voyage home.

Places visited: Plymouth; Madeira; Rio; Singapore; Sarawak; Labuan; Manila; Batavia; Port Essington; Sydney; Hobart; Norfolk Island; Kapiti; Tonga-Tabou; Papeete; Valparaiso; Mazatlan; Cape Horn.

Includes: track charts and watercolour sketches.


Series. Captain Henry George Hamilton, 1839 - 1843

3 items

Biographical / Historical

Captain Henry George Hamilton (1808-1879) entered the Navy in 1822, and was made lieutenant in 1829. In 1839 he went to Australia and became a sheep farmer.

Subseries 93A. Letters to family from Australia, 2 October 1839 - 10 August 1843

40 Letters to his parents and family from Portsmouth, Union, Sydney, Colleroy, Clarence River

Subjects include: boarding Union; conditions on board; the Captain and other passengers; visit to Captain Fremantle on Clio at Rio; shooting birds; landing at Sydney; impressions of the harbour; George and Patrick Leslie's intentions to farm a station - relations with Davidson; the heat; problems finding lodgings in Sydney; Mr Maclay's house; visiting sheep stations; Jones, Davidson's partner - 'there seems to be something in the air of Australia that changes an honest man into a rogue'; staying at Jones house at Cockrabil; valuation of station at Colleroy, under £11000, 'Davidson's disappointment'; running the station; purchasing John Blaxland's property, 'Bow' ; bushrangers; received six government men for shearing; visited James MacArthur of Camden, and Patrick Leslie; food - Kangaroo tail soup, bread from own wheat; drought affecting cattle; plants in his garden; visit to Liverpool range to inspect land to rent; petitions to continue transportation to supply men to work on roads and for a representative assembly; wedding of Captain Wickham; wheat dried up in heat; finding new cattle run on Richmond river; Edward Hamilton appointed to Council, Henry Denison declined due to ill health.

(190p., some faint pages.)

Subseries 93B. Copies of letters written to his father from Australia, 6 July 1840; 15 November 1841; 9 July 1842; 6 March 1843


Subseries 94. Letter by Edward Hamilton, October 1843

1 item
Edward Hamilton (Steamboat) to George Clive (Croydon), 5 October 1843 (File)

Re return of Henry Hamilton to England 'a severe blow to me'; Henry Denison to go with him; his attendance on council. (4p.)

Series. Sir Louis Henry Keppel Hamilton, 1945 - 1955

11 items

Biographical / Historical

Sir Louis Henry Keppel Hamilton (1892-1957) entered the navy in 1903 and served in the Mediterranean, 1908-1910, in the Channel 1910-1911 and on other stations; including the Pacific in Queen Elizabeth, 1922-1924. He was captain of Royal Naval College, Greenwich 1938-1939 and Flag Officer, Malta 1943-1945. He then went to Australia as the first member of the Commonwealth Naval Board, 1945-1948.

Subseries 217. Account of Mission to Australia, and other trips, 3 December 1945 - 26 March 1948

Australian mission. (159p.)

Subjects include: flight in Liberator over Australia; Townsville; inspected depot at Brisbane; trip to Delatite and Seven Creeks; fishing; New Guinea; Adelaide - 'sent several crystallised fruit parcels'; visit to school for radar mechanics; Hartwood, Conargo NSW - shooting duck; fishing trip to Coolumbooka; visit to Government House, Tasmania; 'Tasmania is a delightful Island with excellent trout fishing'; fishing trip to Delatite; trip in HMAS Australia; Samarai Island; Kwato Island; cricket team at Kwato; Manus; Port Moresby; New Zealand trip; HMS Tamako; talks with PM Peter Fraser; night fishing; Rotorua; 'Maoris do their cooking in the open over a steam jet'; Port Kembla colliery; Christmas fishing trip to Tasmania; fishing trip to Khancoban; voyage on Stratheden, Melbourne to London.

Filmed selectively.

Subseries 226. Papers re Australian mission, 1945 - 1955

6 items

Correspondence, memoranda, pamphlets, proofs of articles (243p.). Includes:

John J. Dedman, Post war defence policy (printed) (1947)

J. Curtin, Higher defence organisation (printed) (1945)

R.G. Menzies, The defence call to the nation (printed) (1950)

Frederick Shedden [Melbourne] to Hamilton sending him pamphlets (1946, 1954-1955)

Sir Philip McBride, Defence policy and the programme (printed) (1954)

Diagram of Australian government machinery (faint) (03-1945)

Subseries 251A. Letters written by Hamilton, June 1945 - January 1948

1 item
Folder 3, June 1945 - January 1948 (File)
1 item
L. Hamilton (Melbourne, Canberra, HMS Diamantina at sea, Hobart, HMAS Australia at sea) to his mother., 21 June 1945 - 31 January 1948 (Item)

Subjects include: air journey to Perth; the Melbourne Club; 'the local politicians are already beginning to monkey with the local navy so my job is not going to be a bed of roses' ; his health; Australian politics; Curtin; hospitalisation; stay at Government House, Melbourne 'both the Governor Sir Winston Dugan and his wife are delightful'; visit to Adams family in Western Victoria; Government House, Canberra, 'this is a bigger house then I expected and really not at all bad for Australia, where everything is inclined to be shoddy'; the Duke of Gloucester; social events in Melbourne; tour of inspection of northern ports; talks with Chifley on defence; Dr Evatt 'ruined UNO'; scandle of Schreiber and sacked valet; fishing trip to Buffalo Mountains; Mountbattens in Melbourne 'Melbourne went quite mad over them'; yachting trip on Diamantina - Townsville; American base at Manus, native village 'the natives were very primitive after the Yanks'; Dreger; trip to Adelaide, Norrie's opinion of Australians 'Lazy, slipshod and inefficient'; Christmas at Government House, Hobart and fishing trip; Paul Maguire; discussions on post war forces; American fleet visits Australia; lunch at Parliament House, Canberra; 'I won a famous victory at Canberra a couple of days ago in getting enough money out of the Government to put the Australian Navy on its feet'; maning of carriers by RAAF; conditions on Australia; visit to Samarai and Kivato; Christmas at Government House, Hobart.


Subseries 251B. Letters received by Hamilton, March 1945 - December 1950

3 items
Folder 1: Bundle, 8 March 1945 - 29 November 1945 (File)


Bernard Foley (Australia House) (8 March 1945) re arrival in London.

W. Walker (Melbourne Herald, London) (31 May 1945) re interview with Hamilton.

Lord Louis Mountbatten (19 August 1945) re cooperation with Australian forces.

Jim Forbes (London) (20 August 1945) re his son Ian, POW in Java; Japanese surrender.

Department of the Navy (Melbourne) notification of Hamilton's appointment (24 September 1945)

A.McLachlan (Canberra) to Admiral Bracegirdle with programme for Hamilton's visit to naval wireless stations (25 September 1945).

Hamilton to [Duke of Gloucester] re hospitality. (5 October 1945)(Draft)

J. Armstrong (24 October 1945) re interview with NSW Premier 'matter I spoke to you about had fallen through'. Includes draft reply by Hamilton.

Rear Admiral T.H.Troubridge (Admiralty) (31 October 1945) Re cooperation with Australia over defence, 'an essential tie between Australia and the Mother Country'.

Ian Forbes (London) re release from POW camp (1-11-1945)

Jim Forbes (London) (9 November 1945) enclosing Ian Forbes' account of sinking of Prince of Wales, evacuation of Singapore, sinking of Grasshopper, journey, with help of natives, from uninhabited Indonesian Island to Padang, passage on Stronghold for Australia, sinking of Stronghold, capture by Japanese. (8p.)

Hamilton to Claud Barry, Naval Secretary (12 November 1945) re NSW Governor 'business', he opposed appointment of RAN officer; position of Governors in Australia.

Claude [Barry] (Admiralty) re Governorships (22 November 1945).

J.Northcott (Melbourne) forwarding minutes of defence committee meeting on 26 November with Lord Alanbrooke (29 November 1945).

Folder 2: Bundle, 10 January 1946 - 19 December 1946 (File)


Charles Warthouse (Sydney) (n.d.) re arrangements for flight.

Patrick Brind (Swiftsure, Sydney) that returning to England (10 January 1946).

Hamilton to Lord Louis Mountbatten (20 March 1946) welcoming him to Australia; remarks on Australian politicians; trade unions; future of RAN (Carbon).

Lord Louis Mountbatten (Brisbane) (9 April 1946) re visit to Australia; Indonesian situation.

Hamilton (Melbourne) to Sir Hugh Binney (Hobart) (29 April 1946) re visit of RAN ships to Tasmania (carbon).

Bernard Foley (Australia House) (29 April 1946) re visit to England of PM, Evatt and Sheddon; discussions on sharing of defence costs; establishment of military missions from Dominions in London; position of Australian High Commission.

Dutch Minister to N. Makin (Canberra) (8 June 1946) re treatment accorded Piet Hein in Australian ports (copy).

Charles Warthouse (Glory at sea) (25 June 1946) re Hamilton's visit to Glory.

Hamilton to Sir Philip Vian (Admiralty) (29 July 1946) re his appointment as 5th Sea Lord; imperial defence; Canadian navy; RAN.

P. William-Powlett (Chester) (6 August 1946) re RAN cadet training.

Sir Hugh Binney (Hobart) (31 August 1946) re Christmas visit.

Howard Johnston (Bermuda, Port Moresby) (29 September 1946) Re visit to New Guinea.

Hamilton to Sir Winston Dugan (October 1946) re Dugan's return to Melbourne.

Sir Hugh Binney (Hobart) (25 October 1946; 28 October 1946) re Hamilton's visit to Tasmania.

Hamilton to Duke of Gloucester (12 December 1946) re visit to Government House.

Bernard Foley (Australia House) (13-December 1946; 19 December 1946) re food parcels; Collins appointment.

Folder 2: Bundle, 24 January 1947 - 5 December 1950 (File)


Programme for Melbourne Cup visit by Commodore G.H. Faulkener (n.d.)

Bernard Foley (Australia House) (24 January 1947) Re visit to 5th Sea Lord and Admiral Lambe; appointments.

Hamilton to Sir Aubrey Smith (22 April 1947) re visit from Mures 'I get more and more fed up with my frustrating job, which is entirely governed by local labour politics' (carbon).

Sir Hugh Binney (Hobart) (18 May 1947) re Hamilton's promotion to Admiral; visits to Brisbane and Sydney.

Sir Hugh Binney (Hobart) (2 October 1947) re visit to Tasmania by Hamilton.

Menu for dinner given in Hamilton's honour by Mayor of Auckland and Hamilton's speech (11 November 1947).

Hamilton to Department of Navy (Melbourne) (9 August 1948) re Member for Supply be appointed to Naval Board (carbon).

Hamilton (London) to Editor, National Review (6 December 1948) re naval aviation in Australia (carbon).

D.Youle Syme (Melbourne) (5 December 1950) Re strike by Victorian railwaymen; the McDonald government's attitude to strike; trade unions in Australia; high price of wool.